CFA Response to Ikenberry’s Work Group Report

The CFA applauds efforts to streamline administration and procurement costs in order to commit shrinking university resources to core missions of teaching and research. But we also see much to give faculty pause in recent announcements about the report of President Ikenberry’s Administrative Review and Restructuring Work Group and impending plans to implement its recommendations.

• The centralizing of “human capital” strategic plans and monitoring procedures according to new business models engineered from above are of particular concern, especially as they will affect all academic personnel and staff and the vital educational missions they support.

• The focus of IT investment in on-line learning environments while classroom technologies in a number of sectors of the university continue to lag also needs faculty input.

• The coordination of Foundation and alumni fundraising relations with little mention of the importance of key faculty research objectives and departmental connections threatens to strangle communications to potential funding sources of the most important, ground-level activities of teachers and researchers.

• The spectre of new “consulting” firms coming in to advise the process raises further concerns about the voice faculty will have in shaping these important changes; not to mention the extra expenses to be incurred in implementing them.

The Working Group is right that communications programs provide a broad range of services to connect with and inform the many and varied stakeholders of the University…” Put in a more education-friendly form, it is vital that transformations of university procedures actually facilitate the free exchange of ideas among faculty, students, staff, administrators, alumni, fundraisers and the larger communities we serve.

Observing that President Ikenberry has been charged by incoming President Hogan to move forward quickly in implementing the Working Group’s recommendations, the CFA looks forward to substantial faculty input on the implementation process, which seems, from the list of working-group members, to have been lacking in the formation of the Working Group itself. As a voice for faculty communication throughout this process, the CFA stands ready to investigate and address the faculty’s many vital interests. Please join us.

Kathryn Oberdeck
President, Campus Faculty Association
June 25, 2010